Rugby League: Huddersfield take over from Paris

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The Independent Online
Paris will be replaced by Huddersfield next season as what was the European Super League becomes, for the time being, a purely English operation.

The League's board of directors has decided that Huddersfield, who finished second in the First Division last season, will be promoted for 1998.

Paris and an application from Swansea are earmarked for possible inclusion in 1999, when Super League wants to expand to 14 clubs.

The loss of Paris - even if temporary - is a blow for the credibility and European credentials of the competition, however. "We need a little more time to prepare and realise that Super League is a very competitive division," Jean-Paul Ferre, the Paris president, said diplomatically. "I am confident that we will be serious contenders in 1999."

The chairman of the Swansea consortium, Neil McClure, said: "We were excited about the prospect of competing in Super League in 1998, but we have accepted the advice of the RFL."

Great Britain's Test flops are to be given the chance to redeem themselves at Old Trafford this Saturday. The side's head coach, Andy Goodway, will today name an unchanged squad for the second match of the British Gas series.

The hope this time, however, is that the Bradford Bulls full-back, Stuart Spruce, will be fit after an ankle injury that kept him out of the 38- 14 defeat by Australia at Wembley.

There are even hopes that Iestyn Harris could come into contention, despite being initially ruled out of all three games because of a back injury. His condition is being re- assessed in the light of Britain's poor performance in the series opener.

Great Britain can forget all about drafting in Keiron Cunningham. The St Helens hooker's hernia is worse than first thought and could require a second operation. That leaves Goodway's room for manoeuvre within his squad limited, although including the St Helens scrum-half or stand-off, Sean Long, somewhere in the 17 for Old Trafford is an obvious possibility.

- Dave Hadfield